Transgenic mice expressing anti-DNA antibodies have been extensively studied as a model for understanding B cell regulation in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). BALB/c mice transgenic for the R4A-gamma2b heavy chain of an anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) antibody produce two populations of high-affinity anti-dsDNA B cells, one deleted, and the other anergized. We generated double-transgenic BALB / c mice expressing both the R4A-gamma2b heavy chain and the anti-apoptotic bcl-2 gene in the B cell compartment to study whether bcl-2 overexpression differentially affected anergic and deleted B cells. The double-transgenic mice (R4A/bcl-2) express elevated serum titers of both high- and low-affinity anti-dsDNA antibodies and display rescue of autoreactive B cells that are normally either deleted or anergized. Despite the presence of anti-dsDNA antibodies in their serum, R4A/bcl-2-transgenic mice do not develop nephritis, demonstrating that overexpression of bcl-2 is not by itself sufficient to allow disease progression. This phenotype resembles that of some SLE patients who have high titers of anti-DNA antibodies without nephritis.